Pearlington at Christmas
Recently, I was asked to write the following concerning my impressions of the state of rebuilding in Pearlington.
The request came from Judy Totts of The Gazette, Medina County, Ohio. Please feel free to share it with your own local news media, if you think it appropriate. I have also added it as a downloadable and printable .pdf file, temporarily house under a link to the right. Be sure to add your own contact information, if you send it out.
This weekend past, my wife and I erected a 9-ft. fresh-cut Christmas tree and decorated it; put a large turkey in the freezer for the holidays and braved the malls looking for the perfect gifts. On Christmas morning, we will gather ‘round that tree, open our presents to each other and then sit down to a sumptuous meal before a warm fire. Like many North Americans, it will be a time of family, of giving and of Peace.
Not so, many of the residents of Pearlington, Mississippi.
On this second Christmas out from Hurricane Katrina, many families are still crammed into FEMA trailers, awaiting sufficient resources and volunteer labor to rebuild their shattered homes and broken lives.
Only about 35% of the town has been rebuilt and each day is another reminder of the devastation close at hand and another test of Faith. Many will never tell their children that the gifts they receive this year were once again donated by perfect strangers. They will gather at churches and the Recovery Center for a meal, because the oven in a FEMA trailer can barely hold a chicken. They will take their pride and their dignity and once again put them in their empty pockets for another day.
And they will pray that we are able to get to them soon, that some kindness will find its way to their house, that some Angel will come to make that house a home once again.
It’s not our fault that many of us will be safe and abundant this Christmas, any more that it’s the people of Pearlington’s fault that they will not. At the very least let us be filled with gratitude and take nothing for granted, for some of us know that Life turns on a dime and that nothing is forever.
"Canada Jon" White
The Coalition of Disaster Relief Agencies in Pearlington